Although hormone replacement medication is extremely important when it comes to managing hypothyroidism, certain foods can affect the health of people suffering with hypothyroidism or even interfere with thyroid medication. Therefore, it’s very helpful to be aware of what to approach with caution and foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism.
- Cruciferous vegetables
If you suffer with hypothyroidism, you can improve your diet by simply reducing your intake of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. This is vital for proper thyroid function mainly because these vegetables can impact the body’s ability to absorb iodine. Limit your intake of cruciferous vegetables to less than 5 ounces per day in order to avoid any negative influence on your condition.
- Fatty foods/fried foods
Regular intake of fried or fatty foods interferes with your body’s ability to utilize thyroid medication for thyroid hormone replacement. As a result, a diet with a lot of fatty foods will have a negative impact on the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Some of the fats you need to cut from your daily diet include margarine, fatty cuts of meat, butter and mayonnaise.
Reducing your intake of gluten is a step towards improving thyroid function. Gluten-based foods include processed grains such as wheat, rye and barley. When you reduce your intake of gluten based foods you’ll avoid irritating the small intestine and disrupting the absorption and effectiveness of certain thyroid medication.
- Processed foods
Most processed foods have a high concentration of sodium which should be avoided buy people suffering from hypothyroidism. Since an underactive thyroid can easily increase blood pressure, a high sodium diet increases the risk of high blood pressure. Therefore, hypothyroidism patients should keep their sodium intake bellow 1,500 mg a day. Moreover, you should always read the food labels when going shopping because this will help you know the sodium levels in different foods.
Estrogen inhibits the body’s ability to use thyroid hormone. Soy, on the other hand has a high concentration of plant based phytoestrogen which increases your risk of suffering from low thyroid function. If you have hypothyroidism you should keep your dietary intake of soy to a minimum.
- Sugary foods
Hypothyroidism causes your metabolism rate to slow down and this is the main reason why people who suffer with hypothyroidism gain weight especially if they are not following a healthy and strict dietary plan. Try to avoid sugary foods or remove them from your diet completely.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism it is important to avoid stimulants such as coffee and other caffeinated drinks because they can make the symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland even more intense. You can replace caffeinated drinks with healthy fruit and vegetable juices or water.
- Iodine-rich foods
If you suffer from hypothyroidism, it is important to avoid foods that contain iodine because iodine tends to increase their activity of the thyroid gland. Avoid taking iodized salt, seaweeds and sea foods such as kelp which are very rich in iodine.
- Enriched flour
Besides containing fewer nutrients than whole grain flour, enriched flour is also difficult to digest. Moreover, it’s a high glycemic food that may disrupt the hormone and sugar level in the blood. Foods with a lower glycemic index restore healthy hormone levels in your body. Therefore, you can replace enriched bread, pasta, cereals and snacks with whole grains such as quinoa, whole wheat breads, barley, air-popped popcorn, quinoa and brown rice.
- Red meat
Red meat contains very high levels of saturated fat or cholesterol which can cause inflammations, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Reducing your intake of red meat can help reduce symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Replace red meat with lean proteins such as tuna, salmon, beans, herring, and mackerel. You can also reduce inflammation caused by an underactive thyroid by avoiding sauce-topped, fried, and processed meats which contain additional fat.
The main causes of hypothyroidism are excessive intake of iodine, toxic nodules, certain medications and Graves’ disease. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include anxiety, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, irregular or scant period, bulging eyes, enlargement of the thyroid gland, tremors, and sleep difficulties. However, by avoiding the trigger foods listed above you can improve thyroid function and avoid other underlying conditions associated with hypothyroidism. Do not make any changes to your medications, supplements, exercise program or diet without first consulting with your doctor.
Wishing you good health, Always!